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A Challenger Hits Its Stride PDF Print E-mail
Written by Steve Dittmer   
Thursday, 21 August 2008
AFF Sentinel Vol.5#35

Learning What We're Up Against

Colorado Springs, CO August 21, 2008

Edi. Note: The following are excerpts from an AFF presentation to the National Meat Assn. summer conference this week.

The price good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men.

"Evil" is a bit strong in most of the cases we deal with in this industry. But I submit that a do-gooder with a Congressman, Senator or judge backing his play is just as destructive -- and harder to fight.

The Agribusiness Freedom Foundation (AFF) promotes free market principles in agriculture's food production chain. Plus we have the freedom to cite facts and counter critics and do-gooders not only up and down the food production chain but also across to the chain of critics. And our facts and reasoned analysis are also heard in government agencies, the media and Congress.

Since AFF's beginning, our primary issues have included free trade, opposing livestock ownership restrictions, opposing mCOOL; retaining modern genetic and technological livestock production practices and preserving the options for producers and packers to contract, utilize alliances and branded programs.

While the beef industry was viciously in-fighting regarding trade, industry structure and the very right to own cattle or do business as one wished, we've been watching the Humane Society of the U.S. (HSUS). It has consolidated many animal welfare groups into one unit, built a large funding base of $130 million a year and honed its legal and lobbying unit into a formidable fighting force. They position themselves as the more "reasonable" group, as opposed to the more radical PETA or ALF (Animal Liberation Front) or ELF (Environmental Liberation Front). We submit that being more reasonable than groups that throw firebombs or toss blood and urine bombs doesn't really make a group reasonable.

But HSUS uses isolated instances of animal mistreatment - or their view of mistreatment in some cases -- to paint the entire mainstream livestock and meat industry as cruel, inhumane, unethical and immoral. Their methodology is to get ordinary people to judge livestock production practices by the standards many Americans apply to what's beside them on the couch watching television - dogs and cats that they treat like members of the family. These emotional appeals are very powerful tools in the hands of people who have the will and money to motivate citizens' thinking on animal agriculture.

While HSUS talks incessantly about animal cruelty, cynically speaking, that is the means to an end. We're all aware of HSUS "investigators" filming instances of abuse while standing by doing nothing to stop it. We're also aware of HSUS sitting on evidence of abuse and doing nothing for months to remedy the situation, while they lined up their publicity and threat machine for a salvo.

Don't expect HSUS's hidden cameras to go away soon, either. According to a recent story ("Humane Society of the United States' Image reshaped by Beef Recall," Press- Enterprise, 08/17/08), Pacelle regards Hallmark as the most important "case" they've ever been involved with. The publicity has brought in a lot of cash. Pacelle has doubled his "undercover investigative" staff to 12 from 6.

But HSUS doesn't often talk openly about their ultimate goal. They want the U.S. to eventually abolish production of animals for food - to become a vegetarian society. And they aim to accomplish that by shaming citizens with misleading tactics into voting for ever more restrictive production practices. Unknowingly, voters could be hoodwinked into making meat too much of a hassle to produce, too expensive for people to afford and gradually choking the meat production industry out of business.

Here are a few excerpts from Wayne Pacelle's plea on the HSUS website, "Decisions We Make:"

  • "With the rise of industrialized farming and the many miseries it inflicts, the decisions we make two or three times a day - when we sit down to eat - have vast implications for animals. We are deciding, in effect, whether or not we will add our own weight to the immense burdens placed upon factory-farmed animals.
  • "As an animal protection organization, The HSUS is constituted to prod lawmakers, corporations, and individuals to do better when it comes to our food policies and choices."
  • "The HSUS Guide to Vegetarian Eating" is published ....for [those] who want to reduce their consumption of animal products or replace them entirely."
  • " ...each one of us has the power to turn away from the cruelties of today's factory farm."
  • "Animals raised for food are not just objects or commodities - they are fellow individuals, with the same spark of life that we have ..."

This from a group that has investigators roaming the livestock production chain looking for ammunition.

Next time: HSUS' newest angle to turn citizens against animal production.

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Last Updated ( Friday, 12 September 2008 )
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